Perfecting putting and practice

Sports - August 1st, 2003

by Paul Jones

In the past few months I have received many e-mails that ask the following questions:

1. What is the most important part of the game?

2. How do I practice correctly to get the best results when I play?

PUTTING

EXPLANATION:

I have said it before but put­ting is one of the most often overlooked areas of golf. The fact is putting makes up between 40-60 per cent of the average score. Putting is often referred to as a “game within a game.” The tech­nique itself is very simple. It is, however, the need to understand basic points that will go towards improving your game; as well as ensuring lower scores.

KEY INSTRUCTIONAL POINTS:

■  There are many variations on the golf grip unlike any other part of the golf swing. The key with the grip is to ensure the club is controlled in a way that elimi­nates inconsistencies such as poor alignment, incorrect “stroke” and even distance con­trol and feel.

■   The stance should be square to the target line or slightly open.

■   The eyes should be positioned over the ball and parallel to the target line.

■   Set the club face so it is square to the target line.

■   Position the ball forward of center and more specifically two inches inside the leading heel.

■   Body movement during the swing should be limited.

■   The putter head travels slightly inside on the way back and the same on the way through.

■   The length of the backswing and follow-through should be the same.

SKILLS TEST

Golfers often find it difficult to improve at golf because they are allocating time to areas that are not necessarily the problem areas. There is a simple skills test to assist all golfers in identifying which area of the game or specif­ic shot requires attention.

The test consists of 11 differ­ent shots. Each shot has differing parameters and goals to score a point. The minimum allocation of balls is three per shot. The ideal test is 10 balls per shot. Note: The 10 balls per shot will take approximately one hour and is a great practice alternative.

TEST INFORMATION:

LONG GAME

■   Sand iron- a target that is three meters wide

■   Short iron (PW)- a target that is five meters wide

■   Medium iron (six iron)- a tar­get that is 10 meters wide

■   Long iron (three iron)- a target that is 15 meters wide

■   Driver- a target that is 20 meters wide

SHORT GAME

■  One-meter putt – use the circle work drill and count the number of putts holed.

■  Two-meter putt – use the circle work drill and count the number of putts holed.

■  Ten-meter putt – count the number of putts that finish with­in one meter of the hole.

■  Ten-meter chip – count the number of balls that finish with­in one meter of the hole.

■  Fifteen-to-20-meter sand shot – count the number of balls that finish within two meters of the hole.

■  Twenty-to-25-meter pitch shot – count the number of balls that finish within two meters of the hole.